The Bullmastiff breed is a compact, powerful, muscular dog with a large, square head. The coat is short, hard and weather proof and comes in fawn, red or brindle, with a black muzzle. Adult male dogs measure 64-69cm and weigh 50-59kg; adult females measure 61-66cm and weigh 41-50kg.
The Bullmastiff dog breed was originally called the 'Gamekeeper's Night Dog' as they were used to catch poachers. The base stock of the Bullmastiff was 60% English Mastiff and 40% Bulldog. They were created in the late 1800s. When the need for gamekeepers and the Bullmastiff declined they were used in sport. Someone would run off into the undergrowth and, after a short time, a muzzled Bullmastiff would be released to see if the person could be found. They were not trained to maul or kill, but to overpower their target.
These dogs are very protective of their family and other household pets, and so have to be socialised from an early age. The Bullmastiff will only accept strangers if they are introduced to them by someone they trust. Other visitors/strangers will be quickly halted in their tracks. It is not really a breed for the novice owner, due to its strength, stubbornness and over-protective nature.
As with many breeds, Bullmastiffs can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip and elbow dysplasia (joint conditions that can be painful and lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important. They are also prone to a particular bladder condition and ligament problems in the knee (cruciate disease).
This dog should be carefully controlled until at least 12 months old. Too much exercise too young can lead to bone and joint problems in later life. They do enjoy exercise and games with the family, and a couple of hours of exercise daily will keep an adult Bullmastiff content.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. The Bullmastiff is prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
Grooming the Bullmastiff is relatively easy, as the coat is short and low-maintenance. A grooming mitt is all that is required to remove any dead and loose hair.